You hop in your car for a business trip. You need to drive to the nearest city to meet clients. You’re on the highway, and as a good law abiding citizen, you follow the speed limit.
About 30 minutes into the drive, you noticed that the other vehicles are going considerably faster than you, thus breaking the speed limit. So you decide to join in and speed up. You’re running a bit late anyways, so it’ll be good to get to your destination a earlier.
Then, 15 minutes later you see the good ‘ole red, white, and blue lights flashing.
To make matters worse, the cop is in a bad mood, and decides to give you a hefty fine. In your head you’re thinking, “well that’s not really fair. Everyone else is going way faster than me, why didn’t he stop them”. All this because you wanted to get from point A to point B faster.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter how fast the other folks were going, or if they were speeding. You broke the law or rules of the road to, so you’re in the wrong. And you’re the one they noticed.
So, what does this have to do with Facebook?
You set up a Facebook page. You notice your competitors’ page is growing considerably faster than you, because they’re running an illegal contest where users need to like or share a page, or comment on the page as entry to the contest, thus breaking the “rules of Facebook”.
So you decide to run the same kind of contest to speed up the growth of your page. You want to catch up to your competitors’ page anyways. Then, at about a 1,000 likes in, your page disappears.
Busted. You just broke the “Facebook speed limit”.
In your head you’re thinking, “well that’s not really fair, everyone else is doing it” or, “the contest rules are confusing” or “I didn’t know I wasn’t allow to do this”. Really? It’s on the “Facebook Terms” page. A quick Google search and you’ll find it.
Here are the most common rules broken.
iii. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.
iv. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.
v. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.
If you weren’t aware that you weren’t allowed, you shouldn’t be running a contest to begin with. Read the rules first. Facebook OWNS the highway, remember?
I realize that mistakes are made. God know I’ve made many, so I apologize if I sound frustrated, but this ANNOYS me to no end. I see numerous pages running these kinds of “contests”, completely breaking the rules. And what is more irritating is that fact that these are reputable, wonderful brands, and they’ve probably HIRED a marketing agency or consultant to do this. And all that agency/consultant is doing is gambling with your brand and your community.
If you are going to run a promotion for your business or your client’s brand, for heaven’s sake, follow Facebook’s contest guidelines. It requires a lot less effort than trying to explain that their fan page of 10,000 members has been removed. That’s not a conversation you’ll want to have.